Hello, everyone, and welcome to victory talks, where we’re all about creating winning mindsets, and growing your organization. If you’re looking to scale your business, grow your event, or learn about best practices in sales and marketing. This is the podcast for you, based on the principles of the best-selling book sales, outside the circle. We introduce your host, Bill McGlade.
Bill McGlade 00:28
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to victory talks as always, I’m super excited about our special guest today. Before we go into it, I do want to say this is the first one ever that actually holds a Bachelor of Arts in hospitality management from Florida State University. But we won’t hold that school against her we’ll get there. But before we go into the episode today, let’s remind everyone to go ahead and sign up for our event on April 23 and sales it for your eyes only. We’ll put the registration link in the details below. So with that said, let’s dive right into it today. So with that, I’d like to introduce Christine and Christine per usual, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Oh, my goodness, Well, number one, April 23 is my birthday. So I’ll be on that podcast,
Bill McGlade 01:23
That’s perfect. It’s good. It’s going to be actual virtual events,
Okay, I’m here,
Bill McGlade 01:27
Everything and I might have to call out your birthdays and so I’ll be helping write everything.
A little bit about me. Let’s see, I like to think of myself as a CEO of the FiOS, that’s the figure it out people I love that. It is something now that I’m in my later years of my career, I can really look back and say that I kind of have that drive. Early on, I started in the private club industry. Two truths and a lie, I’ve actually met two of the Royals and that was through my private club industry time. Prince Charles was playing Polo down in West Palm Beach, Florida and I was working at the Palm Beach Polo Club and I really loved the activity of meeting people and today was always different and you kind of went home feeling good about things and so my manager there, I wanted to be a marine biologist and my managers
Bill McGlade 02:33
Quite a difference, Yes, my parents,
Bill McGlade 02:37
Were like animals and No, I’m just kidding.
I know I really wanted to hang out with shambu. But water to be honest with you. My GM at the club was like you just have a real intuitive knack for some of this. when something happens, you figure it out and you just keep moving with things and so Florida State University had a fantastic program and I’m like, let’s do it. So that’s where it all started and then I eventually moved to Atlanta continued in private clubs, melted in a little other thing in there through Special Olympics of Georgia, which gave me a lot of planning and then I met a team of people that were just incredible at meeting expectations and I’ve been here for over 22 years.
Bill McGlade 03:27
All right, can you tell us a little bit about meeting expectations?
Sure meeting expectations, we are a unique bird in this industry. I feel like because we do Association management, we do media management and we do all these little fun things in between. So we work with corporate groups, we also work with 501 C, three groups and it’s really interesting to watch things that we’re learning in each of the spaces and how we can transition it to the other side, whether that’s through a meeting or through membership management ideas or growing membership. So that’s what we do.
Bill McGlade 04:06
You have a very interesting career path coming into the actual trade show events and conferences component of it. More of those private clubs and private event components it’s higher scaled, different budgets, different set of expectations As the CEO of the FIA oh which I absolutely love. How did you take that, different caliber of experience and transfer it over into the clients that you have now with meeting expectation?
I love that question and I think in private club, I learned very quickly, you have to know your audience. When a person walks in, their name, what they like to drink they like golf or they like tennis, a lot about them, and I think it makes it special when you can bring that into a situation have 1000 attendees or 2000 attendees, and you really get to know people. So it is fascinating, the things that I learned for that private club interaction from food and beverage, figuring things out, because it’s not always perfect, how many weddings that I plan, no wedding is perfect and taking that experience and bringing it over into the meeting management side, I think is really done for me a great job because I like to know who’s attending the conference, I like to know what makes them tick and why they want to be there and why it’s important to them. Because that helps me translate what we do for the next time and make it better.
Bill McGlade 05:47
So I know I’m goanna get this question afterwards. That’s great. We all want to be able to personalize those experiences get to know them a little bit better. But sometimes it’s hard, right? For 1000 person, a 2000 person conference, what are you seeing or what are you doing to help make that easier?
I love coffee and that means if we have to be downstairs at six in the morning, I’m usually downstairs at 5 15, 5 30 going to the get coffee.
Bill McGlade 06:20
I’m there with you. I’m having my second cup now.
It is amazing when you’re walking through a hotel, a large hotel, let’s say the Venetian or Mandalay Bay, or one of the gay lords you start talking to people and sometimes that might be an attendee nine times out of 10 it probably isn’t attendee, and you just start meeting the men and it’s amazing. Couple hours later, you see them walking in the hallways, and they’re like, oh, my goodness, how’s your day going? and I’ll always ask her where you from? I don’t know a stranger to be honest with you. I love that when we’re in the middle of the event and everything is moving smooth.
Bill McGlade 06:56
That’s what we all hope. Fingers crossed. Yeah.
And the war room I’m not sitting there checking emails for other things. I love walking, the foyers, the tradeshow Hall and things and talking to people and see what’s going on. If a booth doesn’t have anyone in it, I might stop in and say, Hey, what’s going on here? What do you guys do in and what, what can we do to help you get the audience where your booth so always just engaging, I think that’s important, engaging in real time,
Bill McGlade 07:24
Which is it’s hard for a lot of event planners out there because they’re always worried about okay this fire and that fire and putting everything out. So sometimes you do have to just put that aside to make sure that you’re getting to know your attendees, getting to know your exhibitors, your sponsors. So I really liked that I liked the approach that you take to personalize your events by being out there with them and having those random conversations, those random conversations can generate a lot, like you said, For even during that events or engagement activities for the next year, or the next event. Are all of those things? Yeah. So obviously coming from the, your private clubs and all of that you probably have some more interesting stories, even beyond the Royals we won’t even go there, I promise. In our pre conversations you did, did mention that there’s a pretty cool stories about the mannequin heads and wigs that you have behind you. So I would love to hear about them.
Well, we call those the wig outs and it was funny because you know sometimes when you go to Vegas there is something magical about Vegas. I mean, you do its like.
Bill McGlade 08:42
You enter a portal into a different dimension. When you get there,
You could be a whole new person and when you put away God, you truly become a whole new person. But what we did is what we’re finding is in Vegas people were just having wanting to have fun and a lot of the tech companies and user groups that we do out there. They don’t really like to interact too much. But again, if you give them a new personality for a moment, they might so what we did is we created a sponsorship opportunity for a tradeshow Hall and we decided that we were going to have the Katy Perry blue, or blue or blue Hawaiians and non-alcoholic blue drink and we had blue eggs and we sent out a tweet and everyone had to come to that booth and pick up the first 10 people got away and you put your way gone and we do photo we had a little fun and then we had several different kinds of ideas. The Rockers so we had like cutting these is in the evening and then what that kind of parlayed to was, the end of the conference would be a big party, of course and then you had all these people wearing their wigs because once you got your wig get in, you didn’t give up a wig and so it was just funny to see the amount of people male and female wearing these funny wigs, bright pink, electric blue, I mean, just having a great time at the party, we’d have a band and whatnot. So it was just a way to have a sponsorship opportunity, create a little bit of fun and energy, and then use that towards props for your end event,
Bill McGlade 10:16
Who you were able to monetize an opener a conversation opens for people, because it allowed them to feel a little bit more comfortable. Alright, so even the introverts have the ability to put on a wig and become someone different and have conversations. That is really, really cool.
It was so funny, because, we didn’t know how this would go and this was at an event we had close to 5000 attendees, all techies, and about five or six of my team would put wigs on and we had a boom box and started playing music and we start walking through the tradeshow Hall and it’s the tweet went out, and then people would start flocking towards where we are going and following us to that booth for that one purpose, grab the wig and have a little bit of fun for a few minutes and then the sponsor, of course, took it from there and where they had a good group of people to have some conversations with and we kind of start stepping back. So this was under three minutes, boom, boom, in and out, create that energy, and then we kind of fade backwards and then the sponsor would step in,
Bill McGlade 11:21
What a great idea to monetize conversation openers like that. I mean, there’s probably a ton more out there now that everyone’s listening to, so that they can figure out. But I love and now I want to figure out whenever we have a next live event how we can do that. Because a lot of times it is hard for people just to start a conversation. It’s not like everyone can just walk up to a table like, Hey, my name is Bill. I can but you know that’s because I enjoy doing that, like you I enjoy having conversations with people but even as an extrovert it is challenging sometimes because it does drain your energy. So you always need that time to recoup. No, I want to pivot, you know the word from 2020 just a little bit here, and go into the mindset. So the mindset you have, constantly figuring things out and overcoming challenges and obstacles and being able to accomplish your goals throughout your career throughout many different events in many different clients. It can be very draining going from that energy level, how do you stay so positive, so optimistic because from the brief conversation that we have, I can see that that breath of life in you, that’s just it’s always there. So for all of the event managers and rent professionals out there, how do you keep that light going? How do you stay positive and optimistic?
My God, just say she’s just weird.
Bill McGlade 12:59
We’re all a little bit weird, but we have to embrace that weird,
We have to exactly, that I think I like to be challenged. I like what a client is like; I just don’t know how to do this and I’m like, I like to engage other people around me. So I don’t do this alone. I always include whoever wants to jump in my crazy train here at our office. Just brainstorm ideas. I think that’s important.
Bill McGlade 13:31
You actually have a train that goes through Yeah, I wouldn’t put it past you know.
I just think it’s, important to pull energy from everyone and on a personal level, I mean, I went to the gym this morning, I’ve already worked out. So I mean, for me, there is an energy I need for me on a personal level, there doesn’t that doesn’t mean I don’t have days where I’m like, I could just sit here watch Netflix all day long and everything alone, that’d be fine. But I think that I’m just naturally I pull myself up, make myself move a little bit, get some energy going, and then really start pulling people around me to give me that additional push need some times.
Bill McGlade 14:12
I think it’s important and so can I dig into that a little bit and it’s a little bit personal, but it helps everyone out there understand that you don’t have to be 100% on all the time. Sometimes you’re going to have those Netflix days, that 20 times. But you can always lift yourself back up so what is it that you do to help lift yourself back up to where you know you feel good?
Oh, a couple things sometimes I’ll just say I gotten turn everything off and walk away from it all and just go for a walk and I think lately going for a walk and I don’t wear headphones when I walk or run. I love to hear the birds. I’d love to hear the noises of where I’m at and just taking note of something different for a minute. Clear your head and Just come back into it knowing as you come back to that desk or to that situation that you’re like, Okay, I’m going to look at this differently now I looked at it one way, and I just couldn’t break the ceiling on it. For some reasons I walk away, I come back, and I just look at it from a different angle for a minute and hopefully, that helps make a crack into something that’s going to, again, start driving into a direction and I honestly, I had that yesterday, I had a moment of like, wow, I just feel like I got punched here. Now, what do I do? Like, how do I take this situation and twist it a bit? And I was a little nervous is a big asks for a client, and they wanted to do something completely different and it was like, Okay, I feel like I just gave you my entire creative, like, what do I do?
Bill McGlade 15:48
What you’re saying is you a very accomplished successful person can still feel nervous.
Absolutely and you know what, there’s value in being stressed and being nervous. Sometimes I think sometimes you need a little of that and it brings you to that breaking point that you might need to come up to something that’s uncomfortable; you really hone in on and have success with. I think that I heard something this morning about sometimes there’s beauty in being scared, because the other side of it gives you so much more and it’s okay to feel that way and wake up or not be able to sleep one night, you’re just nervous about something and you’ve got a big meeting coming up and you’re pitching an increase. Yeah. But when you come out of it, there is that sense of, I’ve got this, I can, but its okay, because there’s beauty in that stuff.
Bill McGlade 16:42
I like how you put that there’s beauty in entering into the fear. I really liked that. Actually, I think that might be the title of the episode. Now the beauty and the fear, right? There it is I’m going to insert a little bit of my crazy. So I read a lot. Sometimes some people say I read too much and sometimes I don’t read the best of things and I like to try to get as many different perspectives as I possibly can and so you just mentioned something about taking a walk, which I love I do as well, especially if I’m at a wall, and I don’t know what to do next, I always take a walk, sometimes I’ll put my headphones on, because it’ll help clear my mind. But a lot of times myself, I like to hear nature as well. Well, they just came out with a new study and it’s crazy and it’s crazy, because obviously, it’s a new study and you know there are no real findings behind all of it. But it says, two hours outside could actually replace this and be the same benefits as 30 minutes of exercise. Now, I’m not goanna say that’s 100% true or anything like that. But I do believe in the power of being outside and taking those walks. And not being one with nature, but taking in the energy of nature, as you were saying before, right, taking in and gathering the positive energy of people and helping to spread that and all of that there’s a lot out there without getting way too spiritual or things like that. But energy is a real thing. I mean, that’s why there’s people that stand outside barefoot, right to soak up the Earth’s energy crazy things like that, which is not crazy to some people just crazy now.
Funny a funny thing that kind of connects that to one time I was out in California at tourneo beautiful property with a client’s and I went for a run on their little path and when I went out there was this this is about probably seven, eight years ago on the cliff and he had these funny goggles on. He was playing with something. I stopped, and I just stared for a minute. I’m just watching him and he took his guy. Obviously he knows there. I had a presence on this off and I’m like, I’m just fascinated. What are you doing? You’re here put them on. He was he had a drone up in the sky and he was watching whales.
Bill McGlade 19:03
Biology craziness Oh my gosh this is incredible I feel like I’m swimming with the whales like this was so cool and he’s telling me a little bit about it and what they brought the drone in I got to see it and everything. I was like, oh, that is I mean that is so incredible so I take off and I stopped and I sat down and I started Goggling drone user community. Nothing existed. Drone experts. Nothing drones, nothing, and Nothing I was getting nothing and I thought there’s something here. So I came back, talk to some people. They loved it and we started working on a drone technology Expo in which we had drone racing. It was the very first drone race before the DRL that you see out there now and everything and it was magic. I mean, it was fast and this is before drones were such everybody thought drones were goanna kill you drones are awful. But I really had to learn a lot about drones because if I was going to produce a show of this, we had to know what we were doing. And, and I started speaking afterwards to a number of meeting planners about how to use drones at shows and, what can you do to do some things. But that that happened, because I stepped away for a minute, and went for a walk or run, and then boom, a whole new thing came about.
Bill McGlade 20:30
It’s amazing what happens in life when you take a step. Alright, and then just go experience life itself? And what can actually come of it. So I love that story. Thank you and that’s actually a perfect segue into this next part. So from what I’m told, you always stay on top of the latest ideas and trends and opportunities, which, right from that story is 100%. True? No, let’s go into your thoughts, your opinions on the state of the industry and what’s next? What, can we expect?
Yeah, I think if there’s a time right now, we all need to take a step back and reassess, and look and just get a sense of things. This is definitely forced us whether we want it to or not, it really forced us and I am fortunate that I think working with so many different types of clients in situations, we’ve had some different experiences everything from an in person event we did in Austin in August, in 2020, to obviously, working on numerous virtual shows over the past 12 months. So it’s been, there are days, I’ll completely admit this, I want to be excited about virtual guys.
Bill McGlade 21:56
They’re hard to get excited about, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love them, there’s a place for them, there’s a need, but nothing replaces that, that connection you make from live events.
Not at all and it’s great that we’re learning it, I think it’s powerful that we need it, I think going to be a part of our future. many years ago, in virtual events were coming up, people were freaked out that they were just diminish everything that was an in person event and I think that we can all now say that’s never going to happen. I mean, there’s always going to be the group of people that want to get together and have that and then there are good people that now plug into this in a different way that we didn’t access before. So there’s, there’s a positive to this. And it’s been a fascinating year. I feel like, it’s very similar to when mobile apps first came out. bombardment, how many companies came out with a mobile app, see my demo you couldn’t step away from your email, or from an industry trade show without seeing about 20 mobile apps, and they were just coming into the marketplace as fast as they could, then you started seeing some of that buy up and stuff and it was interesting, because I equate a little bit of what we learned there to what we are in now with virtual platforms mobile apps as a meeting planner, what do I need? What do I want? What does my client need? How does this work? We’re kind of back in that, but I feel we asked even better questions to now and I think the technology is robust, and it keeps growing and we’re dependent on bandwidth of people home versus streaming and everything. So, there’s a lot to be learned and I know that for some meeting planners that that’s a little uncomfortable, but I think it’s important to jump in it and be a part of it and just like I walk the foyers at an in person event, and during the virtual events, I make myself moderator of a room a breakout room or assist my team on these interactions, because I want to see and understand how people are interacting with the technology that gets important.
Bill McGlade 24:14
Agreed, I mean, technology is advancing so rapidly these days that we have to figure out and understand how people are engaging with it One to make it better, but to understand if it’s the right piece of technology for us at that event as well. Yeah. So it’s funny, as you were speaking about kind of the future of what you’re seeing, or currently seeing and what the future might be. I’m almost thinking back on one thing that you had mentioned earlier, those Netflix days the live events are going to be like the concerts, the actual experiences which people want to go to, and of course, there’s always educational components, but it’s a professional version of those live concert aspects of it a true experience and then the virtual components of it, it’s going to be that on demand Netflix kind of aspect of it. So my question for everybody always is, and this is nothing against the AV companies out there, I love them. I’ve got great friends in them. But it’s going to be very expensive for organizers to live stream, everything every single one of their sessions, their tradeshow floors and things like that. So how do you see us transforming? Hybrid is always is a big word these days. But how do you foresee the industry kind of moving forward with a hybrid virtual component?
Yeah, and it’s funny because pivot was award last year, hybrid and in, here’s where I start with a client. What does hybrid mean to you? Because I go back to the drone story, when I would tell somebody about a drone, they’re like, oh, my gosh; those drones or I actually got pulled into a conversation on live TV and the guy I was speaking against was from Georgia Tech and he was talking about drones in the military and I’m talking about little mini quads. So my point there is drone went from something that was huge. None of us can buy it was for the Milton. Dean, it was controllable by a five year old, if you want it,
Bill McGlade 26:19
You know, you get these little ones that just fit.
Yeah, the little buzzy one so that’s a hybrid, what is your hybrid Understanding? What are you looking for in a hybrid, because hybrid is a very large word that can mean very many things?
Bill McGlade 26:32
Ton of different not things, you know,
And I think the realistic way to look at it as you, you have to build the opportunity to service who you’re servicing in the white right way and if you’re in person, make sure you’re servicing the in person experience with everything you’ve sold them on and if you’re going to put some hybrid aspects to this, look at where you can do that, because there are good ways to do it. I spoke at a pcma event. A few years ago, my session room was live streamed, but not all session rooms were that was a great example, I thought they did such a great job And this was before anything ever happened, that you had, like five session rooms out of 15 that maybe had the camera equipment, had the live stream had a moderator watching the content coming through online, and then you had the moderator in the room focused on the in person. So you have to put a couple of things in there and it is a budget aspect to look at but you don’t have to do 15 rooms,
Bill McGlade 27:41
Use at least 15 rooms live streams, they can be recorded difference and then they can be placed on demand. later after the show, of course, that can all be monetized as well. I ewe did that the last couple of years at Expo, which I thought was great, because there’s a lot of us I’ve been to Xbox where every year minus this year, although I was there virtually. So there are a lot of us that unfortunately there are our shows are right around the corner, or we just don’t have the budget to go to those events pcma Expo so the virtual aspects of going to events is a plus. But of course you miss out on the true in depth experience behind those events Right and a lot of that was, yeah, I’m going to learn I’m going to gain business as vendors or supplier. But more importantly, I was going to see industry friends that I haven’t seen all year because I get to see him once a year at the events and that is the biggest, huge aha for me for live events and from virtual these past years and, and this is me coming I sell virtual platform, right and there’s, there’s a need for it, there’s a place for it and there’s always going to be but I’ll always say this, nothing will replace the connections of live events.
Now, it’s just wrong. But I agree with you. I think that there’s a place for it. I’m excited to integrate it
Bill McGlade 29:10
And actually integrated into the experience of the live I like that a lot. Yeah all right So Wrapping things up here. Is there any last piece of advice you’d like to give the audience whether it’s on something for events or even a mindset or anything.
You know, it’s funny because I just put this on my LinkedIn recently. Always put yourself out there, keep learning. Speaking of Netflix, you might need to rename it something around Netflix, but watching several Netflix series, I watched down to earth, Zac Efron and it’s on.
Bill McGlade 29:57
The list I’m excited.
Got to watch it through, and then call me after we’ll have a whole discussion line. But I’m one of them is about water and water sommeliers and guess what? I’m about to take my final after like three months to be a water somebody and that to me was keeping myself abreast of things and keeping things fresh and now people are like, that’s my daughter again, she’s just weird.
Bill McGlade 30:23
I didn’t even know there was a water Somalia I thought it was only for wine.
It’s for water too and there’s like, the world. So I’m super excited to be a part of this elite group. If I pass me hope I pass I’m sure I will. But it’s exciting because I do see trends I immediately I’m doing this because I want to be thinking of my clients, and how can a trend in water or a water bar versus maybe and a lot of events can’t have alcohol, so why not have something different Something new. So I always like to look for those odd things that may be that little diamond in the rough and something fun that you can add into not only your own toolbox, but really, it’s something to share out with your industry or with your clients. So, that’s my latest thing and it’s kept me in that positive energy. Like we may not be traveling right now. But I’m going to, I’m going to train myself on something and I found passion in that and so the person who’s in the Netflix series is actually who I’m being trained by.
Bill McGlade 31:40
So that is pretty cool.
It’s pretty cool.
Bill McGlade 31:43
So I really am not elite community.
It’s crazy. So, look for that on my LinkedIn, I’ll be strong.
Bill McGlade 31:50
I absolutely will and I always I always relate things to movies, and you reminded me of Adam Sandler’s water boy so now I’m picturing water boy sponsorships on tradeshow floors and people love it wants some high quality h2o out here. Like oh, this is going to be funny.
I’m going to get that igloo pack and walking around.
Bill McGlade 32:14
Glacier water here it is.
So that’s my ending word. Just keep just always look to enhance what speaks to you, and what can you learn more about it?
Bill McGlade 32:28
Love it. Alright, Christine, thank you so much for your time today and for the wonderful conversation. I know the audience has learned a lot I have, so they must have as well. So I appreciate that. Everyone, thank you for listening today please make sure to check out Christine on LinkedIn. I’ll put her profile linked into the description, as well as meeting expectations and don’t forget April 23. It’s Christine’s birthday. But also register for sales date for your eyes only. We’ll be having fantastic live streamed events with very, funny commentary between me and Brad Weber. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time.